Michael Aubrey wasn’t the only minor leaguer putting on an offensive show Saturday.
According to Robert Emrich of Milb.com, Royals farmhand Lorenzo Cain hit for the cycle and tallied a career-high seven RBI to lead the Triple-A Omaha Chasers over the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (an affiliate of the Rockies), 16-11.
Cain was a minor piece in this past winter’s Zack Greinke trade. He launched a first-inning grand slam, then doubled in the third and singled in the fourth. In the sixth, he hit a two-run triple.
“I can’t really point one thing out,” Cain said after the game. “I feel like we had a long day traveling today. I just tried to put together consistent at-bats and I was able to put a good swing on the ball today. I’m very pumped about it. I’ve always wanted to hit a grand slam and hit for the cycle, and it came in the same game. It’s a very special moment for me, so I’m very excited to get that done tonight. I had a few text messages from my mom and my girlfriend, and they were definitely excited for me.”
Cain improved his batting average 25 points with the one-day performance and is now hitting .308/.385/.500 with two homers, 14 RBI and five steals in five chances. He turned 25 years old in mid-April.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.